While we’re all waiting for science to come up with the answer to the obesity problem, there are still several strategies that can kick-start your own battle of the bulge.
Eating smaller, healthy meals while increasing energy output is the most sensible way of losing fat.
Some promise significant weight loss in a short period, and your weight loss is likely to involve loss of muscle as well as fat. They are usually high in protein, which your body doesn’t store. But you’ll probably put the weight back on as soon as you go back to your normal diet.
Those that prevent you absorbing fat from your diet, are safe but may have unacceptable side effects most notably smelly diarrhea. This may actually work by negative reinforcement – causing you to eat less fat.
Operations like gastric banding are helpful but are only recommended for the extremely obese who’ve tried other strategies.
They should be part of any weight-loss strategy and should include some resistance training to build muscle. Building muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate.
Exercise burns fat
US researchers studied 45 obese, middle-aged women to determine whether exercise has an effect on abdominal fat cells. Those who used a treadmill for half an hour or more, three times a week burned 1680 kJs and reduced the size of their abdominal fat cells by 18 per cent.
Stress causes stomach fat
A 2006 UK study found a link between workplace stress and metabolic syndrome, a condition characterised by increased abdominal fat, high blood pressure and insulin resistance.
A US study found women who had high levels of the stress hormone cortisol were more likely to have excess abdominal fat.
Why is it hard to lose tummy fat?
When you cut kilojoule intake and increase physical activity, you are most likely to lose weight first from where you gained it last. So, if you last put on weight around your arms or face, that’s where you’ll probably notice a difference first.
Men generally find it easier to lose intra-abdominal fat but a woman’s pot belly may not be that type of fat. Instead, it could be subcutaneous fat (just under the skin rather than deep within the abdomen around the vital organs), which may be easier to shift with diet and exercise. However, physical activity has proven to be effective at reducing fat inside the belly also, so exercise is good for both types of fat.
Is it possible to get rid of the ‘menopot’ belly?
Many women notice a bit more tummy fat after menopause but it’s not necessarily there forever. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT), which restores estrogen, may make a difference but it is not something you’d take simply because you feel bloated. Increasing physical activity and reducing kilojoule intake is the best approach.
Targeted exercise such as abdominal crunches can increase muscle tone and improve the shape of your tummy, but it won’t rid you of abdominal fat. Cardio workouts, anything that gets your heart rate up (fast walking, running, biking) is the best thing to burn fat.
I hope this aricle helps…..as always, live life to its fullest
Rowell Bulan , M.D.